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Desiccation Tolerance In Maturing Maize Seed: Membrane Phospholipid Composition And Thermal Properties

Y. Chen, J. S. Burris
Published 1991 · Biology

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Membrane phospholipids play an important role in acclimation of plants to environmental stresses. Phospholipid composition and thermal properties in maturing maize (Zea mays L.) seed were studied to relate high-temperature desiccation tolerance to membrane stabilization. A preconditioning process (treatment at 35 °C prior to high-temperature drying) was used to induce the high-temperature desiccation tolerance. Phosphatidylcholine (PC) accumulated, resulting in an increase in the PC/phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) ratio from 3.6 to 8 within 48 h as the high-temperature desiccation tolerance was induced during preconditioning. The increase in PC/ PE ratio coincided with a decrease in both phase transition temperature and enthalpy of transition, indicating more stable membranes. The improved stability could be related to the high-temperature desiccation tolerance and membrane function after preconditioning. A shift in the fatty acid composition of the membrane lipids from linoleic acid (18:2) to oleic acid (18:1) during preconditioning indicates a more saturated fatty acid composition. This shift in fatty acids may result in membranes that more easily cope with high-temperature desiccation, as contrasted to a low-temperature effect. The results suggest that alterations in phospholipid molecular species and changes in fatty acid composition to a more saturated composition in maize seed during preconditioning and maturation could be common mechanisms in high-temperature desiccation tolerance.



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